Johnny Depp to Fill in for Heath Ledger on Dr. Parnassus?
by Alex Billington
January 25, 2008
Actor Heath Ledger, who was found dead earlier this week, was six weeks away from finishing Terry Gilliam's fantasy film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Early reports from sources on the set of the film were saying that production had been shut down and the crew was being fired. However, a contradictory report from The Sun says that Gilliam wants Johnny Depp to fill in for Ledger from this point forward. None of this is officially confirmed and should only be taken as a rumor at the moment.
Heath's death was incredibly tragic and came as a huge shock to the entire world. His work as the Joker in The Dark Knight was entirely finished, but the fate of Gilliam's $30 million film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which had been shooting with Ledger since December, is still officially unknown. Ledger was on a break from the set when he was found dead. Us Magazine reported a scoop from a crew member saying that "everyone was being let go" and that "they don't know yet what they are doing with the footage that was already shot."
An update from The Sun arrived earlier today with the report that Johnny Depp might fill in for Ledger from this point forward on the film. As to how this could be possible without re-shooting everything previously, an anonymous source involved with the film explains.
"There is a point in the film when Heath falls through a magic mirror. He could change into another character after that and that is where Johnny would come in. It's a weird, fantasy, time-travel movie so Heath's character could easily change appearance. It would be a poignant moment. Johnny's not working at the moment so everyone is praying he will do it."
Both of these reports have come from sources related to the film, but not actual producers. As of this moment, the producers on the film haven't released any statements. Both reports seem to contradict - one says the film is being shut down, the other says that Depp will fill in and it will continue shooting in Vancouver as planned. Terry Gilliam and Johnny Depp have worked together beforehand on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a movie that was canceled mid-production.
Take all of these reports as unconfirmed rumors at the moment, and once an official statement is released, we'll be sure to update you. Ledger's death is very tragic and we hope that his legacy can still continue on, including his work in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.